Leigh Woodruff is Counsel in the
Los Angeles office of DeForest Koscelnik Yokitis Skinner &
Berardinelli. Ms. Woodruff practices law in the areas of higher
education, commercial and product liability litigation,
employment, professional liability, and alternative dispute
resolution (or “ADR”).
In her higher
education practice, Ms. Woodruff works closely with Senior
Partner Walter DeForest, a former General Counsel for Carnegie
Mellon University. Ms. Woodruff represents and counsels
colleges and universities concerning their diverse and often
complex legal challenges, in areas including: labor and
employment (faculty and staff); admissions; student discipline,
diversity, and privacy; corporate governance; First Amendment
issues; campus expansion and real estate; sponsored research
and technology transfer; financial aid; and accreditation.
commercial and product liability litigation practice, Ms.
Woodruff has successfully defended clients in a wide range of
substantive areas, including contractual disputes, claims of
defective product design and manufacture, intellectual
property, employment matters, and professional malpractice. Ms.
Woodruff has expertise in managing complex electronic discovery
as well as national class actions, in which she has defeated
class certification and won dismissal on the pleadings and at
employment practice, Ms. Woodruff focuses on hiring,
promotion, discipline, termination, discrimination, and
wage/hour issues. Ms. Woodruff prepares legally compliant
documents, including: employment, retention, separation,
independent contractor, nondisclosure, and non-compete
agreements; disciplinary memoranda and performance improvement
plans; and employment policies and handbooks. Ms. Woodruff also
advises employers about classifying exempt and non-exempt
employees, defining compensable time, and calculating overtime
rates. In litigation, Ms. Woodruff has successfully defended
employers in single plaintiff cases and class actions.
professional liability practice, Ms. Woodruff defends
lawyers, architects, and accountants. In this area, Ms.
Woodruff’s trial experience includes winning a unanimous
jury verdict for an Am Law 100 law firm against a $40 million
claim by a multi-national company that the firm had provided
erroneous legal advice concerning the Cuban trade embargo and
Canadian and U.K. trade laws. Ms. Woodruff also advises
professionals on best practices to minimize the risk of
professional liability claims.
In her ADR
practice, Ms. Woodruff provides early neutral evaluation
(or “ENE”), arbitration, and mediation services
which protect confidentiality and minimize the expense and
business disruption caused by commercial law suits. In ENE, Ms.
Woodruff evaluates the case at an early stage – to inform
the disputants about the likely outcome before large litigation
fees accrue. In arbitration, Ms. Woodruff acts as an impartial
adjudicator of the dispute; her decision can be binding or
non-binding (depending on the disputants’ arbitration
agreement). In mediation, Ms. Woodruff helps parties to move
past entrenched positions and engage in interest-oriented
discussions focused on resolving the conflict.
Ms. Woodruff is an
honors graduate of Villanova University School of Law (J.D.
2000), the University of Chicago (M.A. 1997) and Allegheny
College (B.A. 1993); and she has completed over 100 hours of
training as a mediator in programs approved by the Association
for Conflict Resolution. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Woodruff
is admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In
addition, she is admitted to practice before the United States
District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of
Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, and the Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Woodruff now resides in Los
Angeles with her daughter and husband, who serves as the
Provost of a local university. Ms. Woodruff is seeking
admission to the California bar in 2012. Valuing community
service, Ms. Woodruff has served as a library trustee and a
volunteer custody mediator in family court. Her presentations
and papers include: Jurisdiction and Forum Selection Issues
in the American Common Law System – A Practicing
Litigator’s View, presentation at Universidad Mayor
School of Law, Santiago, Chile (2010); Dealing with
Electronic Crime in the Workplace: Hacking, Stealing Trade
Secrets, Fraud, Embezzlement and More, PBI Employment Law
Handbook and CLE presentation (2004); and Managing Outside
Counsel in Litigation: A Primer, ACCA Docket, Vol. 21, No.